There has been a record number of 272 artists committing to throw open their studio doors this year, creating a buzz within one of Cambridge’s best well known events in the cities art calendar.
Cambridge Open Studios is the longest-standing open studios events in the country, as it dates back to the 1960s and appears to be getting more popular every year.
Over the weekends of July 5/6, 12/13, 19/20 and 26/27, artists of all kinds throughout Cambridgeshire will open their doors to members of the public, completely free, and share a few of their artistic secrets.
Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase original works of art, and in some cases prints, greetings cards or postcards, though there will be no pressure to buy.
They can also speak with artists about their work, or even see works in progress, to discover their techniques.
Participating studios will be open from 11am-6pm though it is worth mentioning that not all studios are open on all the dates so visitors should check the website in advance.
To give you some inspiration, here’s our top pick of artists with open studios only this weekend…
Fernando Feijoo – Visual Artist/Illustrator
Fernando describes his work as social, political and expressive.
He took part in Cambridge Open Studios 10 years ago whilst working as a printmaker. He’s returned this year in the hope that by having an open studio it would enable him to collaborate with local artists and broaden his audience base.
The main focus of Fernando’s work is a reflection on contemporary society, going as far as using his art to respond to social and political current affairs. Influences from the work of Hogarth and Goya were Fernando reinterprets and develops their narrative into a modern day context. See the image above.
There is a very strong sequential narrative, it’s been observed that Fernando’s work can be an immersive ‘where’s Wally’ experience. The observer can view his work and find numerous features that they may have not experience at first glance.
Fernando is currently working in collaboration with Matt Bagnal of The District Limited called #Project_Run2014. Together they are using a range of materials to creatively interpret the word run to produce a book and prints.
There will also be the opportunity to take part in a workshop on wooden block letter printing working, free and suitable for all ages.
Fernando has found the Cambridge Open Studios experience Intense but extremely rewarding and it’s provided him further opportunities to collaborate with local artists.43 Hobart Road, Cambridge CB1 3PT
Abi Cochran – Silversmith
Abi describes her work as sliver, detailed and organic.
She was inspired by her three generations of female creatives, Abi’s great grandmother mother and grandmother; Catherine ‘Casty’ Cobb.
Casty taught Abi up until the age of 18 alongside numerous committed students all the way through to her 90’s. Casty died on the 17th of September 1995.
After Casty past away, Abi spent time with Casty’s most committed and experienced students, advancing her knowledge and experience within the silversmith trade.
Abi’s creations are universally unique one of pieces using traditional techniques, such as Filigree wirework and fabrication. To compliment and accentuate her creations, Abi uses gems, resin and enamel.
Abi’s main influence comes from her Grandmother along side with fluid patterns and intricate detail. These influences translate frequently into her handiwork in the form of (and not just limited to) necklaces, cufflinks and lockets along with custom orders.
Her most recent influences include landscape aerial photography, specifically rivers running through rocky mountain ranges.
Abi explains that this influences her to “layer smoothly curving wires over textured silver and then embellish with gemstones and gold granulation.”
She has begun documenting this process by the creation of a ‘How To’ video. This can be found on her Facebook page.
Abi was asked what Cambridge open studios experience meant to her; “Cambridge Open Studios is a wonderful way to meet locals; Potential customers as well as making connections with other artists and makers. It’s a really nice way to get direct feedback.
Seeing someone in the natural habitat of their workspace is often more memorable than seeing work in a gallery or craft show, you get a sense of what has gone into the work, the tools and materials.
I’ve had customers who have visited my workshop over 10 years before and have remembered me when they’ve needed something special. I get lots of custom orders through Open Studios, it’s been a big part of my business.”
To connect with Abi, visit her website.5 Station Road, Fulborn CB21 5ER
Seb Antoniou – Painter
Seb would describe his work as strong, figurative and contemporary. His greatest influences are numerous – figurative painters ranging from Lucien Freud to Jenny Saville and Simon Davis. Seb is constantly looking at new artists which inspires him to improve his work. He also produces contemporary portrait and landscape paintings. His work has been exhibited at various galleries in the UK and Hong Kong. When asked about what Cambridge Open studios means to him, he said: COS is a good opportunity to show my work and speak to people about it in person. It’s a chance to discuss ideas and processes as well as getting feedback. It’s also great to see other artists work on display. To connect with Seb, you can visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Seb is represented by Graham Fine Art, Crouch End Seb’s studio is located at 22 Sturton Street, Cambridge CB1 2QA
Sandy Mcphoenix – Textiles
Sandy describes her work as retro, colour and everyday glamour.
She runs Felix and Bloom Studio, making accessories with a retro feel for the home and self. She uses vintage fabric, scraps, found and scrounged dressmaking and upholstery fabric and retro-styled fabric.
Sandy’s quirky and unique items range from brooches which are statement blooms with vintage linen and lace, real pearls, crystal beads, tulle, organza, liberty fabric centres, to embroidered sculptures: cottage gardens in display glass domes with wooden bases.
Like most creative folk, Sandy’s influence comes from her childhood; remembering mother had an old Singer that she always said was the portable kind – shiny green forged steel, unbelievably heavy, with gold writing.
“It sat on a table – perhaps the desk my sister now has in her study in Sydney – the same one my father had as a boy. I remember the piano next to it, piled high with papers, letters and blankets, perhaps even a fishbowl.
That was my parents’ bedroom and the sun would be at your back, blazing in and doing its best to fade everything. There was a tin trunk that you’d bash your shins on. My sister and I would rotate slowly on a chair while my mother pinned our hems and said she was only sticking us with pins because we weren’t standing properly still. “
Her specific inspirations come from fabrics and nature – the garden: bugs and flowers and colours; and fabrics that tell you exactly what they want to be made into. Sandy is drawn to old things, retro fabrics, things that have that wabi sabi aesthetic of bashed-around beauty.
She has been quoted in saying: “Maybe it’s all to do with being Of a Certain Age myself and laughing up my own bell sleeve at the idea that I wear lipstick every day, know how to tie scarves and can do a speedy bouffant hairdo at the traffic lights. “
Future plans for Sandy include sewing and creative workshops for students of all levels, further web tutorials and the creation more vintage idiosyncrasies.
Sandy’s opportunity to participate in Cambridge Open Studios is hugely advantageous for her as she gets to talk to visitors about that vitally important thing – making things.
“It could be how I’ve made something or their experience of sewing or crocheting or sewing with our mums or sisters or how they learned embroidery at school on that weird fabric with holes punched in it.
This year my studio has been an “exhibiting studio”, which means it’s a kind of gallery-shop, which I’ve loved setting up. I’ve had no luck finding a job playing with puppies or kittens, so doing Open Studios is a great second choice – I get to make things I’d want in my house and things I want to wear.
I feel privileged and proud that visitors have spent their hard- earned money on my handmade items, choosing my insects for their anniversary present, a bloom for their glamorous lapel or one of my cottage domes for their table.”Holly Cottage, 59 High Street Bottisham, Cambridge CB25 9BA
Mohammed Djazmi -Printmaking
Mohammed’s artistic aims come from social observation expressed through the medium of pencil drawings, etchings and oil paintings. He was born in the north-eastern Iranian town of Bojnourd in 1948 into an artistic family, with a grandfather who sculpted and a father who was a well-known local painter.
Under his father’s tutelage Mohammed learnt to paint from childhood under his father’s tutelage and had his first exhibition at 14, when his paintings were displayed alongside those of Bojnourd’s other artists.
During a trip to Tehran, the adolescent Mohammed met renowned Iranian realist painter, Tikran Bazel.
During his time in Tehran, he took drawing and painting classes at Bazel’s studio, gained a degree at the Tehran Art University and then progressed to the role of Bazel’s assistant tutor with responsibilities to teach private drawing classes.
Mohammed’s later influences include Cezanne and Monet, and in 1974 became the art expert at the Anthropology Centre of Iran.34 Minerva way, Cambridge, CB4 2UA.
Please comment on your visits to any of these artists below, or other open studios you have visited.
Send us photos of items you’ve bought and what you enjoyed the most.
Remember to share the love, if you really enjoyed an artists work let them know!